Ever watch someone make a serious, costly mistake and there was absolutely nothing you could do about it? I mean you could scream, express yourself and have no impact on the outcome. All you could do was be sad for the outcome—what a shame.
The Colorado tragedy is such a mistake. So was the Virginia Tech massacre, Columbine and all the others--a tragic mistake.
Society has always been saddled with sick individuals seeking attention at the tragic cost of others. But the question is, “Does the way that the news media reports such a tragedy contribute to other massacres?” It's like when someone who wants to experience personal growth and personal change for the better smokes three packs of cigarettes a day or drinks three six packs per day. How in the world is he going to get the desired results? How in the world are we going to have an improved society?
I believe that the way in which these massacres are reported begets more of the same. Let me tell you why and then let me know what you think. My training is in hypnosis. Hypnosis is the “art of suggestion,” and if you study the way in which the media reports these tragedies there's a lot of suggestion going on that can spur other sick minded individuals to do even more dramatic heinous acts.
And case in point, even before I've gotten this article circulated another massacre of Sikhs in Wisconsin has happened. Is there any doubt that another one and another one will happen unless we do something?
For example, a decade or so ago our local high school had one to two suicides per year for nearly a decade. Every time a youngster committed suicide, the community expressed empathy. They eulogized each youngster who committed suicide, and the suicides continued. Then they got smart and stopped paying attention to those who committed suicide. And guess what? The suicides stopped. Was this a coincidence? You decide.
Was it possible that other youngsters attending the eulogy, unhappy with their lives, deep down wanted similar attention? Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but when someone at the school figured out the backwards logic, the suicides stopped.
Does the news media have the courage to do likewise? I mean, what value is it to report the details of the guy with red hair playing the Joker setting off incendiary devices to distract attention, what types of guns he had, his body armor, gas masks, and so on? What value is it to report on the bobby trapped apartment? Doesn't this just make this sicko a hero to other sick individuals and make them envious of him? If you think, “yes,” as I do, then we need to do something to wise up the media.
Or is the purpose of reporting these details to give the average “Joe” something to talk about such as, “Wow what a tragedy!” or, “Isn't it just terrible about all those poor people in that theater?” or, “What's this world coming to?” or, “They should take that sicko and make him go back into his own apartment.” or, “That's the fourth massacre in ten (number) of years.” What else can we do but run our mouths? I mean, no one is requiring aid beyond what the professionals have administered. There's not much for us to do as a society other than support gun control, but we don't need to know all the details to do so. Is the news media so desperate for news that it has to give away the sick details for another sicko to envy?
I'm not saying the media should not report the event, but can they do it in such a way as to avoid making the crazy criminal a hero to other crazies? I think so. Maybe there should be a responsibility factor. Irresponsible reporting agencies get a zero and responsible entities get a 10 or somewhere in between. The goal would be to strive for a ten.
They should refrain from giving any details or photos about the suspect. That would be a big start.
They should refrain from calling the tragedy a massacre. That would be a big plus.
Or rating the massacre, e.g. “the worst mass massacre in this century.”
They should refrain from reporting on how he planned the massacre. That would be another plus.
Normally, I write about techniques for personal growth and personal change. I write about how the average man can rise above himself (his selfish emotion) and be prosperous. But when I hear the way the news media reports these tragedies, I wonder how society can experience any kind of personal growth or personal change for betterment.
On another note, many people believe that by understanding why the perpetrator commits such a heinous act this could lead to understanding how to stop these heinous acts. But then many tried to understand Hitler and why he did what he did and it went nowhere. In fact, those who tried to understand him were, in a way, thought to be condoning his behavior.
Maybe the answer is simply that there is evil. We will never be able to root out all the early life experiences in one's life that contributes to one becoming evil, but I believe we can stop educating evil by improving methods of reporting evil by the news media.
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Richard Kuhns, author and creator of self help mp3 downloads for personal growth and change at www.DstressDoc.com/ has started a petition to make details of names, photos, details of massacres classified to National Security of the Nation thereby not releasing the information to the press.
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